*The Spy Of Venice by Benet Brandreth - DNFThis book looked and sounded like something I'd adore as it's historical fiction involving Shakespeare on an adventure in Europe which is why I requested it and I was lucky enough to receive a physical copy but sadly it wasn't for me. I found the writing easy to read and follow on the whole but I just didn't want to pick it up, it was taking me so long to make any kind of progress and to be honest it was quite boring, in my opinion. I gave it the best chance I could as I've been trying to read it and finish it ALL month but I just can't so I'm not going to finish it and I can't really rate it but from reading half of the book I wouldn't recommend it.
Tales of Beedle and The Bard by J.K Rowling - ★★★★★, 5/5To get out of my reading slump there have been two things that have helped, the first are shorter books. If you've watched the Harry Potter films or read the books then you will know about the tale of the three brothers and the elder wand, invisibility cloak and resurrection stone that make up the Deathly Hallows which is just one of the stories in this book, which in the Harry Potter world is told to young wizard children. I adore the cover and the small illustrations; I also loved Albus Dumbledore's notes and thoughts on each story at the end of each short story in the book. They obviously aren't the Harry Potter stories, they are still magical and wonderful. As with our traditional fairytales and folk tales, they try to teach you a lesson about good and evil for example. I definitely recommend reading the short collection especially if you're trying to get out of a reading slump as I read this book in an evening.
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury - ★★★★★, 5/5I'd heard of this book awhile ago as a classic American childrens story and as I love anything to do with Halloween I knew I had to read it! The book follows a group of friends as they go trick-or-treating and they meet an unusual…thing, they have many adventures on Halloween night and learn a thing or two about the origins of Halloween around the world and themselves. I adored the writing style which is so poetic, lyrical and enchanting so much so that I've now bought two more of his books as I just love his writing and I think he'll become one of my favourite authors. I also love the illustrations in this book! I knew I should've left it until Halloween as it would be amazingly atmospheric and nostalgic to read then but I just couldn't wait as I needed a short book to get me out of this reading slump and it definitely did! READ IT NOW!
The Worrier's Guide To Life by Gemma Correll - ★★★☆☆, 3/5I come across Gemma's illustrations everywhere as they are so relatable and funny so when I saw this e-book a while ago, I had to buy it and I've only just got round to reading it...well looking through it as it's an illustrated book. I adore the illustrations, they're so relatable and I think it would make a great book to gift to people who love her illustrations or illustrated books. However, it was shorter than I thought it would be and just a little meh, if I'm completely honest but I did still enjoy it.
Now, audiobooks, they have been on my bookish radar for a year or so and I have wanted to try them out but I didn't know if I'd get on with them, if I would be able to concentrate as much as if I was actually reading and to be honest it seemed a little like cheating. However, I kindly given a free subscription to a new audiobook service, BookBeat. You can get a FREE one month trial using the following link.
I was a little apprehensive at first but the app was quick and easy to download and it's easy to navigate. I found a lot of books, mostly non-fiction that I wanted to listen to so I started with a series called History in an Hour.
*Stalin by Rupert Colley - Narrated by Jonathan Keeble - ★★★★☆, 4/5As I love Russian history I chose to listen to this audiobook first which is created by HarperCollins. I like the narrator, he seemed like a generic documentary narrator and I liked the audiobook as a whole as it was very easy to get through, entertaining and interesting although to be honest it didn't really tell me much more than that I already knew about Stalin. However as my first ever audiobook I was impressed with how much I could focus and listen to it while also taking photographs and editing them.
*Stephen Fry Presents A Selection of Anton Chekhov's Short Stories - ★★★★☆, 4/5The second audiobook I tried had to be narrated by Stephen Fry as I adore him and his voice! I chose a short story collection he narrates by Anton Chekhov, sticking with the Russian theme. There were about six or seven short stories on the audiobook all of which were entertaining, interesting and with Stephen Fry's voice they were pleasure to listen to. There are set in Russia and involve relationships, poverty and unrequited love which isn't usually my thing but I did enjoy listening to the short stories; however they were quite melancholy and not very uplifting or enjoyable in the sense that they were light entertainment, if that makes sense! I now want every audiobook to be narrated by Stephen Fry.
*Sherlock Holmes - The Adventure Of The Lions Mane and Other Stories - Narrated by Christopher Lee - ★★★★☆, 4/5
I have read two of the full Sherlock Holmes books, including A Study In Scarlet and The Sign of the Four both of which I loved so I wanted to carry on with the series. There are only four full length Sherlock Holmes books but there are many short stories including these which I hadn't heard of until I saw the audiobook on BookBeat. I loved Christopher Lee as the narrator although as I'm used to Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, Christopher Lee's Sherlock Holmes did take a little getting used to. For all of the audiobooks so far I have been able to listen to them fully within a day while I'm baking, cooking, tidying, dying my hair, taking photographs or editing them and this one was the same.
The audiobook contains four short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and they all had the same Sherlock Holmes feel to them although not as much as the more well known stories. My favourite was either The Adventure of the Three Garridebs or The Problem of Thor Bridge. I think Christopher Lee does an amazing job of giving the characters personality and individual voices and I definitely enjoyed this audiobook.
Currently Reading: I am currently trying to make my way through Earth by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Linda Elkins-Tanton but it's a bit disappointing and not what I was expecting. I was expecting a factual but interesting book about the earth but all it seems to be are conversations between the two authors and a more philosophical look at the earth which I'm not really enjoying; hence why I have picked it up for weeks.
Currently Listening: I am now onto my fourth audiobook of the month which is amazing and it is bumping up the number of read books for the GoodReads reading challenge - thankfully audiobooks count as otherwise I'd be very behind. I am loving Victorians Undone by Kathryn Hughes, narrated by Jenny Funnel. I adore non-fiction books about history, particularly when they are unusual and this one is. It looks at the physical appearance of famous people and their contemporaries in the Victorian era including Queen Victoria and Charles Darwin. I will have a full review at the end of April but so far I adore it!
Have you read any of these books? Do you listen to audiobooks? Will you be using the one month free BookBeat trial?